On May 5, 2018, 900 people showed up at Mandai Crematorium to bid their final goodbye to Dave Lee.
The full-time national service trainee from the 1st Battalion Singapore Guards died on April 30 at Changi General Hospital, 12 days after he was hospitalised with heat injuries.
Five people delivered eulogies at the military funeral.
They were by Lee's former classmates, his Basic Military Training platoon mate, the Commanding Officer of 1st Battalion Singapore Guards, and Lee's mother, Jasmine Yeo.
According to The Straits Times, the eulogies painted a picture of Lee as a loyal friend, hard worker, and optimistic soldier always ready to help others.
Lee's mother calls for reforms
In the eulogy delivered by Lee's mother, she called for the training regime to be reformed.
Yeo reminded commanders that their mission "is to train soldiers against enemies" and for soldiers to "return home safe and sound to their loved ones".
She called for the end of "tekan" sessions, which are punishment sessions in the military.
"The definition of turnouts should be duly defined. Outdated traditional 'tekan' or punishment sessions should be put to an immediate stop. Heatstroke kills, so put all possible measures to counter it. It is not to be taken lightly."
In a separate Facebook post on May 3, Yeo also briefly wrote about "tekan" sessions, saying that it should "only be done to invaders, not fellow comrades who serve the country".
Relatives call for answers
Such "tekan" sessions were also brought up by two of Lee's aunts, who recently appealed to his army mates to tell “the full truth” to investigators.
This came after after an unverified account of events by a fellow soldier alleged the deceased soldier’s commanders had shown “reckless behaviour”, forcing him to complete the fast march “even though he was showing signs of extreme physical exhaustion”.
According to Today, Yeo said this incident is a "lifetime painful lesson learned through a son not being able to return home anymore".
She said she hopes for robust changes to be made to "seemingly perfect" training systems.
"If I have to sacrifice my only son to bring this message across, make sure it is one that brings forth solid changes to the seemingly perfect training systems."
The fallen soldier had just completed an 8km fast march on the morning of April 18. He passed away on April 30 after being in coma.
He had enlisted for National Service four months earlier.
The former Jurong Junior College student was posthumously promoted from private to Corporal First Class (CFC), and given a military funeral.
Currently, Mindef said a Committee of Inquiry has been convened to look into his death, while police investigations are also ongoing.
Top photo from Jasmine Yeo's Facebook
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